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Dream Machine

Hopes for a giant collider lie in a worldwide appeal



LINDA A. CICERO Stanford News Service

High-energy physicists have a new machine in mind: an unprecedented accelerator 30 kilometers long that would offer a precise tool to explore some of the most important unanswered questions in physics. But the specter of the defunct Superconducting Supercollider--and the money the project ended up wasting--looms large. Advocates of the machine, however, think they can overcome national doubts by going global.

Since they first began discussing a linear collider in earnest at a 2001 conference at Snowmass, Colo., the world's physicists have consistently and vigorously planned an international effort. Their hopes recently rose when U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham named it the highest "midterm" priority in a 20-year outlook of new science facilities. The report estimates that were the project to be approved and funded, peak spending would occur sometime between 2010 and 2015.

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